Newton Stewart 4 Crichton 1
John McNaught at Blairmount Park
Following a goal-less first half in which the Crichton keeper and captain Robert McColm was a hero for the visitors, Newton Stewart turned on the style to win comfortably.
In fact, they could have scored many more had it not been for the heroics of the keeper throughout the match.
McColm was in action early on as the home side dominated the early stages of the match but was saved by a defender who headed off the line as a lob over his head from Lewis Dunn looked netbound in the sixth minute.
The first half was mainly one-way traffic as Newton Stewart produced some good football to which their opponents had little answer. However, their failure in the last third of the pitch and the superb form of keeper McColm saw the home team struggling to break the deadlock.
Efforts from Micky Sutherland, Lewis and Calum Dunn and Martyn Henry failed to find the net, which meant the first half remaining goal-less with the Newton keeper Harry Fidler having very little to do but clear pass backs.
The second half started with controversy when only three minutes in Alistair Fisher was upended in the 18-yard box by defender Darren Johnstone, who was yellow carded for dissent against the referee. Fisher, however, dusted himself down to take the penalty kick which he converted to put his side ahead.
Mark Nicol was then booked before the Creesiders doubled their lead in the 52nd minute when a great solo run through the middle of the Crichton defence ended with him firing into the net from 12 yards as he ran clear of his marker.
Six minutes later, Crichton blew their best chance of the game when Steven Wallace miskicked the ball and sent it wide of the target with an empty net at his mercy.
McColm, however, continued to thwart anything the Newton players threw at him with some superb saves but, with 15, minutes left to play, there was nothing he could do to stop the third goal. Man of the match Lewis Dunn picked up the ball in midfield and, after seeing off four defenders, he slotted the ball just inside McColm’s near post from 16 yards to score the best goal of the game.
The home side continued to dominate the match as they went to add to their goals tally and in the 81st minute Sutherland beat keeper McColm to a 50-50 ball as the keeper ran to the edge of his box to slide the ball into an empty net from 17 yards out.
With the final whistle looming and Newton coasting to victory, Crichton’s Brodie Turner found space to score a consolation goal for the visitors with an angular shot from 14 yards out.
In time added on Calum Dunn had a good opportunity to score goal number five but once again McColm came to his side’s rescue and the chance was lost.
All in all this was a very good performance by the home side with all players performing as well as they have all season. Had it not been for a terrific performance from the experienced McColm, the scoreline would have been much wider.